Final numbers for the 2014 campaign: DFL groups outspend GOP — by a mile

MinnPost file photo by Bill Kelley
The DFL-aligned Alliance for a Better Minnesota reported spending $2.4 million against GOP gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson.

A check of the final campaign finance reports from 2014 shows that the DFL was the clear winner. At least when it came to money.

The state DFL Party reports spending nearly $8 million last year, compared to the Republican Party of Minnesota, which spent $3.7 million. Equally notable is the parties’ debt: $30,000 for the DFL and $500,000 for the GOP. (These are debts recorded on state filings.  Federal filings show the DFL with a debt of just over $500,000 and the state GOP with debt of just over $1 million.)

The DFL-aligned Alliance for a Better Minnesota maintained its status as model for outside spending groups. The ABM’s Action Fund spent $5.3 million, $500,000 of that on behalf of Dayton. 

Spending against Republicans was the hallmark of ABM this election cycle. It reported spending $2.4 million against GOP gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson. The ABM Action fund also directed almost $1 million in television and online advertising against Republican candidates for the Minnesota House, notably Jim Knoblach, Tim Miller, Ryan Rutzick, Kirk Stensrud, Stacey Stout, Barb Sutter, Andrea Todd-Harlin and Jennifer Wilson.   

Yet for all the battles the DFL won, it ended up losing the war.  All but Knoblach and Miller were defeated, but Republicans took control of the state House.

Republicans were assisted by the Freedom Club, which spent $1.4 million, mainly on behalf of GOP legislative candidates. Freedom Club gave $200,000 to the state party and $4,000 to Jeff Johnson’s campaign. The Minnesota Action Network spent $856,000 and the Minnesota Jobs Coalition spent $770,000. Both groups targeted their spending on legislative candidates.

Given the amount of outside spending this election cycle, the campaign for governor register almost as an afterthought. In total, the Dayton campaign spent just over $3 million to get the governor re-elected, while Johnson spent $2.4 million, roughly eight dollars to Dayton’s ten.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 02/04/2015 - 07:00 am.


    I think there is a pretty widespread sense within the DFL itself that we do not spend money effectively.

  2. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 02/04/2015 - 09:16 am.


    From the Strib:

    “What’s not known, however, is how much was spent by so-called “dark money” groups, nonprofit groups that can spend unlimited, concealed sums on elections and have sprouted up since the U.S. Supreme Court began deregulating campaign spending via the Citizens United decision. Republicans are believed to be the bigger beneficiary of this spending.”

  3. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 02/04/2015 - 06:46 pm.

    Compare headlines

    Today’s Strib has the GOP as spending more money, until you read the article and find out the difference was about $10 million DFL $6 million GOP. I’m shocked!

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